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Twice recently, I have heard an interpretation of 1 Tim. 5:8. Here it is.
εἰ δέ τις τῶν ἰδίων
καὶ μάλιστα οἰκείων οὐ προνοεῖ,
τὴν πίστιν ἤρνηται καὶ ἔστιν ἀπίστου χείρων.
(Translation)If anyone does not provide for his relatives,
and especially for his immediate family,
he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Three masculine pronouns give the average English reader the notion that this verse is addressed to men. However, in the Greek there are no masculine pronouns, and only one masculine plural ending. Not an indication of a male only subject.
But I have listened to two sermons lately where the preacher just assumed that the original Greek was addressed to men.
First, Mark Driscoll says that this is the perfect memory verse for men. And here is what he said in his sermon on 1 Tim. 5:1-16 at minutes 36-38 . . .
If you men don’t take care of your family you are worse than a pagan. … We don’t have any member in the church who is married and is a mother who works outside of the home.
And in another sermon, a more egalitarian preacher said that, although this verse was originally addressed to men, women can provide also. Both of these seminary educated men, who believe they have the credentials to interpret the scripture for their congregation, have misunderstood the Greek.
So, what did Calvin write about this verse?
Erasmus has translated it “If any woman do not provide for her own,” making it apply exclusively to females. But I prefer to view it as a general statement; for it is customary with Paul, even when he is treating of some particular subject, to deduce arguments from general principles, and, on the other hand, to draw from particular statements a universal doctrine. And certainly it will have greater weight, if it apply both to men and to women.
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As Colonel Klink on Hogan's Heroes used to say, "Interesting . . . very interesting!"
In His Grace,